You will hear new voices for the Mercer Bears in the broadcast booth on ESPN3 this year, but as Suzanne Lawler shows you, they're guys that are pretty well-known around here.
"If something comes up, I know how to handle it, I feel comfortable, but when you're pulled out of your comfort zone and you're not familiar with all the ins and outs, well, there is that fear a little bit," said 13WMAZ's Frank Malloy.
It's unusual to hear Frank have butterflies, but as the new play-by-play announcer for the Mercer football home games that will air on ESPN3, let's just say my friend found some solace when he showed up for a scrimmage run through.
His broadcast buddy and color commentator is someone you'll probably also recognize -- former Northside High School coach Conrad Nix, a man who's earned two state championship rings.
"When I walked in and saw Coach Nix standing there, the relief I felt was amazing because, number one, I think the world of the man, and two, he knows football. So I knew right then the Xs and Os would be taken care of. All I have to do is describe what's happening and coach can tell me what they we're trying to do," said Frank.
So far, Conrad's biggest test came not on the field, but at home.
"It's kind of funny -- I had to go into great detail with my wife on what ESPN3 is. She said, 'What channel are you going to be on?' and I said, 'No, it's going to be on the computer,' said Nix.
It's a learning curve, even for Frank.
"I've been listening over the past several weeks to every possible broadcast I can on television just to listen to Al Michaels and Chris Fowler and those guys call games, as far as doing the play-by-play," Frank said.
Nix said, "He was so prepared -- he had all these notes and everything."
But at the end of the day, this game is something both of these men love, and now they get to share that passion with a wider audience.
Frank and Conrad will only broadcast the home games. They won't be on the road when Mercer takes on Alabama or Auburn.
Kickoff Thursday night is just after 7 p.m. against Jacksonville.
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